An interesting concept that gets bogged down by a lack of story progression.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Angel of Mine is a fascinating character study of a woman who cannot overcome the death of her child. Director Kim Farrant sets up the film beautifully, showing Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) as a woman suffering through a divorce and struggling to make ends meet in a job she doesn’t enjoy. At a children’s birthday party, Lizzie spots Lola (Annika Whiteley), the sister of her son’s friend, and becomes convinced she is her daughter that she believed died in a fire. Lizzie befriends Lola’s mother (Yvonne Strahovski) and gradually begins to lose her grip on reality.
As soon as Lola is introduced, we start to see a shift in Lizzie. Rapace begins to outwardly express the grief Lizzie has bottled up inside, hinting that she may not be in the best emotional or mental state. She portrays her as a woman unhinged and deeply scarred from events that were outside of her control. While her actions are completely irrational, you can’t help but empathise with her. As Lizzie stalks Lola, Farrant carefully builds spine-tingling tension that lasts right up until the final moments.
Rapace’s performance is nicely contrasted by Strahovski as Lola’s mother Claire. Where Lizzie is quiet, Claire is loud and abrasive. When Lizzie is sneaky and passive, Claire is violent and angry. As Lizzie gets closer to her daughter, Claire becomes more and more paranoid and protective. The juxtaposition leads others to doubt whether Lizzie is actually insane and whether Claire’s accusations against her have any truth to them.
Angel of Mine may be led by two phenomenal performances from Rapace and Strahovski respectively, but it’s ultimately let down by its story. Farrant brilliantly sets the tone for the film, but the stakes don’t quite get high enough for the final reveal to pay off properly. There is a complete lack of momentum in the middle as the film becomes weighed down by its own character study. The final act is then rushed through, reaching a conclusion that is too quick and too perfect for the film to end on a memorable note.
Angel of Mine is available in Australian cinemas from 5 September 2019
Image courtesy of R&R Films